W. Mandeville — one

It’s been weeks — four exactly- since we moved in and my mother won’t stop nagging me to ‘get a job, it’ll do us both good and prepare you for life after this next coming school year.’ Yeah, okay mom. Let me just call up all my new friends and see if there are any openings in this small shit of a town you moved us to. A fresh start, that’s all she wanted and I know that it would be good for her. But, why the hell did she have to pick England? I was just fine moving across the country. Not the world. Sometimes I wonder if she even thinks about someone other than herself. Selfish and like a bitch that sounds, I know, but it’s true. All she ever does is bitch and moan about not being paid well enough for working night shifts and practically saving people’s lives, and then she goes and moves us to England? It’s so ludicrous. It would have been easier on me if we’d moved to New York, since I’m starting school there in the fall. I hate having to move back, it’s tiring and stupid. Sometimes mom really doesn’t think things through.

I grab my jacket and slide on my shoes, tying the laces semi-tightly and grab my phone and a set of earphones, walking towards the door. I unlock it, opening it as quietly as possible and slip out, walking down the driveway to the sidewalk. The sun is blinding, but my eyes adjust quickly. I look around and see children walking down the sidewalks, mothers not too far behind, pushing strollers. In the midst of watching them, I bump into someone.

“Whoa, watch out there, lovey.” I fumble, looking up, my eyes widened. A male, with shaggy, chocolate colored hair and hazel eyes.

“Oh, sorry.” I apologize quickly, ducking my head down and walking away, glancing back once to see him looking at me. I smile weakly at him and he smiles widely back, pearly whites shining back at me.

I plug my earphones into my phone, slowing my walk and tapping on shuffle, Halsey’s song Ghost fills my ears. My steps coordinate with the bass of the song, bringing a bounce to my step. My arms swing forward and backwards as I walk at an average pace down the path, crossing a street, passing a few people -mostly older ladies, moms with their children or with other moms- going on a quick walk as well. A few cars pass by slowly next to me on the street, a few dropping kids off at houses or picking them up. I stick my hands in my hoodie pockets and duck my head down, watching my feet. I realize now that the song playing is my dad’s favorite; Thank You by Led Zeppelin. I slow my walk and pull my phone from my pocket, tapping the skip forward button and the next song -Taylor Swift’s classic Love Story- and I turn on my heels, beginning to walk back towards my house. I look at my watch which reads seven forty-five. I slide my hands in my pockets and slow my pace. I pass a few people -a girl walking her dog, the guy from earlier- he smiled at me and practically looked me up and down-. I smile back, because I’m polite.

When I reach my house, I walk to the back door and find my mother asleep on the couch. I open the door, tip-toeing to my bedroom and slip my shoes off. I grab a towel and a change of pajamas and walk to the bathroom, locking the door. I set my towel down on the sink and run the water in the shower. Once showered, I slip into my pajamas and blow dry my hair, throwing it up in a pony tail. I slide on my glasses and walk back into my room, slipping into my bed. I grab my laptop and a movie, sliding the disc into my computer and pressing play. I sit back, turning up the volume on my computer.

“Hey, Charlotte?” I hear my mom’s voice, muffled, through my bedroom door. I click the pause button on my laptop and she opens the door, walking through.

“Yeah?” I ask, watching her come towards me and sit down on the edge of my bed.

“I won’t be here tomorrow when you wake up, so I’ll have some lunch and bus money sitting on the counter for you. Okay?”

“Okay.” I tell her, stretching my arms and yawning.

“All right.” She grunts as she gets up and walks to my doorway. “Good night, honey.” She says, shuffling through the threshold and closing the door.

“Night.” I say quietly, clicking the play button and continuing to watch the movie.

I yawn a few more times and decide it’s time to go to sleep. I close down everything on my laptop and set it on the floor, next to a few unopened boxes, plugging the charger into it. I slide back into bed and lay on my side, pulling the sheets up to my cheek.

***

In every book that I’ve ever read, the protagonist, usually a teenage girl, has all the time in the world to put on a full face of makeup and either a simple-but-still-cute outfit or a this-took-me-five-hours-to-put-together one. In reality, when your school starts at six thirty in the morning and you have to be up and at ’em at four forty-five, you have very little time to even shower, get dressed and put on minimal makeup whilst trying to eat and grab your bag and run out the door.

My room was a disaster; clothes strung everywhere, makeup products all over my dresser, shoes hidden under the clothes which trip me every three seconds. It took me seven and a half minutes to try and find my left shoe and two and a half to find my geometry textbook which I now throw into my backpack. I walk out of my bedroom to the kitchen, grabbing a protein bar and a water bottle before walking quickly and going to the bus stop.

“Hey,” I look up to see a girl, about five-one with long light brown hair, a medium deep skin tone and deep brown eyes, walking towards me. She wears a smile on her face and her tone is welcoming and nice.

“Hi,” I say shyly. She keeps a good distance between us, showing that we’re not together.

“How’s it going?” She asks, politely, sliding her backpack off her shoulder.

“It’s going good. How’s it with you?” I reply, smiling.

“Good, good. Are you going to HCC?” She pulls out a pack of gum, taking out a stick and offering it over to me.

“No, thank you,” I deny politely and answer her verbal question, “And yes, I am. Are you?”

“Yeah, I could tell by your uniform you go there. Are you new to town?”

“Sort of,” I say, I make a slightly disgusted face, for what reason I have no idea. “We moved in a few weeks ago.”

“Oh, yeah! You moved into the Richardson’s old house, right? 445 Cornelius Dr.?” She asks, unwrapping the gum stick and shoving it into her mouth.

“Yeah, that’s the one” The bus pulls up right as I’m saying this and we both get on, her letting me go first. I sit down fairly close to the back and she follows.

“Do you mind if I sit with you?”

“No, go ahead.” I slide over a little more, giving her more room.

“So, you must be the girl that Michael’s been talking about.”

“Michael?”

“Yeah, my friend. He said you ran into him the other day and he’s seen you around school before. You’re in biology together, apparently.”

“Oh,” I say, recalling back to the day before when the super tall guy with shaggy brown hair collided into me. “He’s super tall, with brown hair, right?”

She nods, “And the most beautiful hazel eyes.” She says, doe-eyed and swooning.

“Yeah, I didn’t really pay attention to his eyes.” I clear my throat and say, awkwardly.

“That’s what every girl he meets says. But, me? No way. The first thing I noticed were his eyes.”

“Do you like him?”

“Yes. I’ve liked him since freshmen year, when we really started to become, like, best friends.”

“Why don’t you ask him out, then?” I ask and her head practically snaps.

“Are you kidding? He’s dating Amber, the head cheerleader.”

“So? If you really like someone, you tell them. Holding back your feelings and keeping them bottled up inside isn’t good for the soul or your mental health.”

“You sound like my mom.” She says, giggling a little.

“My mom says I sound like a hippie when I say things like that.” We both laugh and the bus stops again.

Michael walks onto the bus with a beach blonde girl hanging on his arm –whom I assume is Amber.- They walk towards us and Michael says hi to –fuck, what’s her name?- the girl who has befriended me somewhat and she says hi back, calmly somehow. She also said a quick hello to Amber –to which Amber just ignored and plopped down next to Michael, kissing him.- I make a disgusted face and –God damn it, what’s her name?!- the girl next to me stifled a laugh.

“Hey, you never told me your name.” I finally say to her.

“It’s Lizzie.” She smiles at me. “What’s yours?”

“Charlotte.” I smile weakly back at her.

“Good to meet you, Charlotte.” The smile stays on her face.

“Yeah, you too.” I smile, completely this time, at her.

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